Very few things can ruin a ride faster than the wrong saddle. It’s a very personal choice, dependent on your riding style, anatomy and budget. In part two of our look at the best products for your points of contact we bring you five of our favorite saddles.
Fizik shook the saddle world in 2003 when it debuted the long and flat Arione. It was so out of the box the UCI had to literally rewrite the rulebook. They aim to do the same with the Kurve. The idea of a comfort saddle conjures up images of thick foam and sheep skin covers. The Kurve is a comfort saddle as sleek as any of their pure race saddles. Instead of foam providing comfort the Kurve shell does the job. A moving shell is nothing new to Fizik, think Wingflex, but the Kurve allows the entire three layer composite shell to flex providing comfort without thick padding and a dead feeling. By utilizing pre-load on the one-piece Mobius rail the saddles feel can be tuned, hard or soft, by swapping out a nose piece. The effect is subtle, like bleeding 5 to 8psi in your tires, but effective. The Kurve fits into Fiziks spine concept so there is a saddle designed specifically for your level of flexibility. If youre looking for comfort/performance and perineum relief youre in luck. While the Kurve has no cut out, the shells inherent ability to mirror your body provides a surprising amount of relief.
Price: $280 Weight: 220 grams
Selle Italia SLR Team Edition
Look up pro race saddle in the dictionary and youll find a picture of the SLR. An update of the classic racing saddle the Team Edition weighs only 140 grams with carbon rails and 30% carbon shell. That shell and the thin padding on top are designed to mold to your bodys unique contours. In short, after a few miles your SLR will be custom fit to you alone. The resulting saddle is firm for responsive power transfer in the saddle, but ready for long miles. The saddle is quite flat with only a slight rise through the rear and aggressive sculpting for friction free riding. The SLR comes in many versions including an 85 gram Tekno, FLOW cut out options and the Selle Italia Monolink system, an ingenious beam mount that allows an unrivaled range of adjustment. A new fit system called ID Match allows you or a dealer to take three simple measurements, pelvis, upper thigh, flexibility, to determine exactly which Selle Italia saddle you need.
Weight: 140 grams
Cobb SHC 170
The cycling world is full of aero geniuses with more hype than resume but one man, the big Texan, John Cobb, has unassailable credentials. Cobb has dialed in more Tour winning aero positions than any other man. He now runs Cobb Saddles, putting all that know how into his designs. Most are aimed at pressure relief and have found real success in the tri world but roadies can benefit to. The SHC is based on his HC 170, a minimalist lightweight saddle that is incredibly firm. The SHC 170 takes the same shape and applies it to a saddle designed for longer mileage and bigger riders. Using the HC170s newly designed polymer base, Cobb added some thin memory foam to up the comfort. The narrow nose combines with a flat 130mm rear and a strategic pressure relief channel. The radically sculpted midsection is designed to ensure there is no chafing of your thighs against the seat.
Price: $200 Weight: 202 grams
Ritchey WCS Contrail
Knowing the man that designed your saddle rides 10,000 miles a year gives you a lot of confidence in said saddles comfort, performance and longevity. Ritcheys Contrail is the latest saddle to benefit from the founders absurd mileage. The Contrail is basically a wider Streem, Ritcheys 130mm wide race saddle. To the 138mm Contrails width they added a bit more padding and when combined with their Vector Wing design creates one of the most comfortable saddles wed be happy to put on a race bike. The Vector Wing adds a central third point of attachment from the CrN/Ti rails to the shell, which distributes load more evenly across the fairly flat rear. While the extra padding helps up front, if you are looking for perineum relief, look elsewhere. A bonus to any Ritchey saddle is their longevity. Weve always found them to retain their ride quality longer than just about any other saddle on the market.
Price: $120 Weight: 250grams
Prologo Scratch HWD
Ti rails, sub 200 gram weight, 134mm width, the Scratch HWD from Prologo screams high performance race saddle. Pronounced swale in the center with its ramped rear harkens back to saddle shapes of the past and provides a great shape to put power to the pedals while in the saddle, especially climbing. The entire saddle is quite curved along its width to allow your sit bones to spread the load out during a long day in the saddle. The foam used is very minimal, and like the Kurve above, the Scratch HWD, or high weave density, lets the shell flex to provide comfort and even has a subtle relief spot built into the shell for the perineum. All this high performance and lightweight comes with a little touch we simply love. The black stripes on the saddles sides are to protect it from tearing when you lean it against the coffee shop wall. A nice touch in such a race inspired design.
Price: $255 Weight: 185 grams
Peloton Saddle Buying Tip: Width matters, if a saddle is too narrow for your sit bones all your weight will be resting on soft tissue. Its worth finding a saddle that allows you to truly engage your sit bones while tempo riding. Many riders find they have spent a lifetime in the saddle never using their sit bones.